We all have the same 24 hours in a day and guess what? It’s up to us to decide how we choose to spend our time.
If you’re thinking, wait a minute Chloe, I don’t get to choose what I do most of the time, I have to go to work, I have to go to the gym, pick up the kids…
But when you really think about it, the majority of what you do is a choice, and it’s much more empowering to think of it as a choice rather than something you ‘have’ to do.
You’re choosing to go to work because you want to live in a nice house, you’re choosing to go to the gym because you want toned thighs, you’re choosing to pick up your kids because you love them. When it comes to priorities you do have choices and it’s important to embrace those choices because when you realize you can choose, a lot more options become available to you.
There’s a famous example about a business school teacher demonstrating to a group how to prioritise things in life. He took out a large mason jar and carefully put some large rocks in until the jar was filled to the top. He asked the class – ‘is the jar full?’. ‘Yes!’ they replied.
Then he took out a bag of smaller rocks and proceeded to pour them into the jar. The little rocks filled the spaces in between the bigger rocks. He asked again ‘Is the jar full?’ ‘Yes!’ They replied.
Next, he pulled out a bag of sand and poured that into the jar, then a jug of water, before pouring that into the jar. Finally, the jar really was full.
The lesson here is not that no matter how busy you are, you can always fit more in. Hell no! The lesson is that the big rocks have to go in first, while everything else fills in the gaps. If you were to pour sand or smaller rocks in first, you’d have no space for the bigger rocks.
Those big rocks should be like your biggest priorities – they have to come first. If you can fit those in, they have the most impact on your life and everything else can fit in around it.
So if you could choose to put first the things that are most important to you, what would you choose?
What are the big rock priorities in your life? What makes the biggest impact to how you feel?
Maybe, for you, being able to get home by 6:30pm to eat dinner and chat about your day with your partner is super high up on your priorities list. Perhaps, having a morning run around the park makes you calmer and less anxious for the whole day and makes a huge difference. Or maybe working just 4 days a week so you can take a day a week to write your novel is what’s meaningful to you right now.
For me? It’s meditation. I do 20 minutes twice a day (which might seem like a lot to some people, but personally, it’s totally worth it) and when I made it my priority it changed my life by making lots of other things in my life way easier and helping things to flow more. It’s one of my big rocks so I make sure I put it first (no – it doesn’t always happen, *life* gets in the way, but about 80% of the time, it does). But by choosing to make this my priority, I’ve had to create time and space for it. I’ve learned that the time I invest in meditation pays back ten fold in other areas of my life. Sometimes I miss out on other stuff because of it, but because it’s my big rock, I don’t mind because I know it pays off.
If you’re finding it hard to imagine how you could start to put your priorities first, I’d like you to consider two things:
– Are you setting boundaries with people? For example, letting your boss know you can’t work late on Wednesdays so you can have date night.
– Is there part of you that thinks self-care is self-indulgent? It isn’t! You can’t pour from an empty cup and a happier, calmer and healthier you is good for those around you.
So my suggestion is this: Make your priorities non-negotiable, put them first and organize your life around them…Everything else will slot in. Remember that you have choices and you’re in charge of how you spend this precious life of yours. Put the important things first and the rest of your life will flow more easily.